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July 1, 1994     The Message
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E S SAGE The Message --for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana VOLUME 24 NUMBER 43 July 1, 1994 i:i ,, i '=" for Jesus . ...... of Catholic parishes join with member Jesus" in Evansville, Saturday, i,  and signs, sang along with songs played from asod truck, and a parade route along downtown streets, i -- Message photo by Paul R, Leingang ops 'overwhelmingly' welcome ruling on altar girls )N (CNS) -- Conference of Bishops "overwhelm- the Vatican's permitting fe- Serve at the altar, ac- an NCCB announce- action, taken at of their June 16- meeting in San announced June 23 by the NCCB The was Closed to Opinion of the Na- of Catholic that the op- and girls altar is a welcome to the guid- diocesan bishop," Otion approved by expresses its the Holy Father for their on this mat- Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco, NCCB spokesman, said the term "overwhelmingly" was used to describe the vote be- cause, while opposition to the measure may have been ex- pressed, it was not heard dur- ing the voice vote. The NCCB announcement said one point made during the discussion was that the per- mission for female servers does not affect the Eastern-rite churches, because the permis- sion is based on the interpreta- tion of Canon 230, paragraph 2, in the Code of Canon Law. That canon is not paralleled in the recent Code of Canon Law issued for Eastern-rite churches. Paragraph 2, as translated by the Canon Law Society of America, reads: =Lay persons can fulfill the function of lector during liturgical actions by temporary deputation; likewise all lay persons can fulfill the functions of commentator or cantor or other functions, in accord with the norm of law." Another point made during the discussion, said the NCCB announcement, was that it was important to continue support- ing "the noble tradition of hav- ing boys serve at the altar." That phrase was used by the Vatican Congregation for Di- vine Worship and the Disci- pline of the Sacraments in con- ditionally granting permission for female servers. The Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy also offered sug- gestions for what individual bishops might want to include in their diocesan guidelines on altar servers. After the Vatican decision was announced in April, some bishops announced they would move quickly to have females serve at the altar. Among them were Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Ange- les, Archbishops Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee and Francis T. Hurley of Anchor- age, Alaska, and Bishops Thomas J. O'Brien of Phoenix and Sylvester D. Ryan of Mon- terey, Calif. The worship congregation had said in its permission, that a local bishop could allow fe- male servers =after hearing the opinion" of his own bishops' conference. Several bishops had said publicly they wanted the con- sultation in June rather than wait until the bishops' annual fall meeting in November. was offered by E. Pilarczyk a former NCCB was approved on vote was open normally eligible Bishops again urge universal coverage, no abortion in health care By Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The chairmen of two U.S. bish- ops' committees have written Congress asking that health care reform include universal coverage and exclude abortion. Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, chairman of the Pro-Life Activ- ities Committee, and Auxiliary Bishop John H. Ricard of Balti- more, chairman of the Domes- tic Policy Committee, noted that the Catholic Church has much at stake in the health care debate. As an employer, as operator of hundreds of medical facili- ties and as a caretaker for the poor, the U.S. Catholic Church has wide- ranging interests in the health care system, said their letter, dated June 15 and released June 23 by the U.S. Catholic Conference. Mandating coverage for abortion not only would have destructive implications for Catholic health care organiza- tions, it would fly in the face of how most Americans feel about use of tax dollars to pay for abortions, they said. The letter cited a recent Uni- versity of Cincinnati poll that found 69 percent of Americans oppose including abortion in standard national health care benefits. Yet, the Clinton ad- ministration's proposal and several alternative plans would require such coverage. =The irony of this situation is clear," the letter said. "For 20 years abortion advocates have insisted on calling them- selves 'pro-choice,' and said the real issue in abortion is 'who decides m the individual woman or the government?' Now American women have said in numerous surveys that they do not want mandated abortion coverage w and abor- tion advocates insist that gov- ernment must .impose it on them regardless." An abortion mandate also would have =destructive impli- cations" for Catholic health care, said the committee chair. men. Conscience clauses permit- ting some institutions to with- draw from requirements to provide abortions do not pro- tect individuals and organiza- tions from having to ensure ac- cess to abortions by providing referrals for patients, they said. The clauses also would prevent Catholic health care institutions from being leaders of provider networks, thus forc- ing the organizations to the fringes of the system where survival would be more diffi- cult, said Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Ricard. Employers such as dioceses and Catholic agencies also would be required to provide insurance plans that include abortion, they added. %Ve find it hard to believe that Con- gress intends to force all Catholic institutions to violate their own religious convictions and moral principles by subsi- dizing abortion for their era. ployees." Their letter questioned how a conscience clause could be crafted to address that issue if abortion is a standard benefit, And it pointed out that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act enacted in January was passed to protect religious in- stitutions and individuals from government mandates that run contrary to their consciences. Another complication from a federal abortion mandate would be that it would override current state laws that allow people to buy insurance that does not include abortion. By simply adding abortion services to the list of proce- dures excluded from mandated benefits, all those problems would be resolved, the letter said. "Tragically, this would not stop abortion, deny anyone ac- cess to abortion, or deprive anyone of the ability to pur- chase abortions or abortion coverage," they said. "It would See BISHOPS page 2